Gmail for Student Accounts

2014 Update: Adding additional “sub accounts” was deprecated a few years ago in a product that was called Google Apps standard edition. With the advent of Google Apps for Education and the integration of G+, the method described below no longer can be applied.

The problem that many teachers face when having students create user accounts for web applications is that most applications require a valid e-mail address to create the account. There is a solution that I learned from Alice Mercer about harnessing Gmail to create "fake" accounts that applications will recognize as legitimate.
Create a legitimate gmail account at http://mail.google.com/. (e.g. username@gmail.com). Then, you can use that base account to "trick" web applications that require e-mail address to create user accounts. The way it works is that you add a + and a student name/alias after the gmail user name (e.g. username+sara@gmail.com, username+tom@gmail.com, username+chris@gmail.com, etc.)
The web applications will recognize those addresses as real e-mail addresses, but students never see an inbox. They cannot send nor receive e-mail because you haven't actually created an e-mail account for them; they don't have a password to sign into Gmail. Any e-mail (i.e. registration confirmations, etc.) that are sent to the username+name@gmail accounts will be delivered to the Gmail inbox that only you can access.

Here are those instructions as steps:
  1. Create a legitimate Gmail account at **http://mail.google.com/**. (e.g. username@gmail.com).
  2. Add a + and a student name/alias after the Gmail user name (e.g. username+sara@gmail.com, username+tom@gmail.com, username+chris@gmail.com, etc.)
    1. Or use a +1, +2, +3, etc. (e.g. emailaddress +1@gmail.com; emailaddress +2@gmail.com; emailaddress+3@gmail.com)
    2. Start registering students for web applications
    3. Check the inbox of your Gmail account periodically